Did I suddenly see a missing piece? How did I miss something so basic?
Picking up a project that was abandoned demands an answer. “Why haven’t you been able to finish me?” And there is not just a single answer, which is why a wicked problem is so hard to solve.
It’s a list:
1) Time: only so much of it. Teaching takes up much of the physical time of the day. And mental time. Much of the space needed for working through the creative pieces is taken up with teaching. Creative space is a limited commodity. At least for me.
2) Priorities: Family. Time with Henry. After school time for groceries and errands, and help with homework or cello practice. Dinner, a game after dinner if time. Clean up, then bed time. By then, I have little left: energy: mental and physical. Marriage. Don couldn’t be easier to live with. Steady and grounded. A beautiful.
3) Training: Marathon Training itself. With all the demands on my energy and time, training is discipline with specific requirements, especially with a coach who spells out my training day by day. It’s purely physical and a matter of will. When so much of the day during the school year draws from my creative, intuitive well, training balances this out. I can carve out the time if I don’t have to think about it: an hour here for a 5,6,10 mile run when I know all these distances from my front door. A half hour before bed to follow my strength routine. I don’t care if it’s boring, or all the same. I can do it without thinking. Planning out weekends so that on Sunday mornings I can count on the few hours for my long run and recovery.
4) Fear: Why am I doing this? Who am I? What if it’s lousy? Amateurish. Inept. Lacking skill. Nagging doubts. How will I know if it’s done? Worse: it’s a fantastic project and significant. How can I live up to the potential? How can I make it count for something?
This last part was too large to tackle. Running a marathon is purely mechanical. Sometimes as the pieces fall together (weather, training, injury-free, strategy) and even when it’s much harder than I thought (as with Boston and something is missing (strategy/nutrition?) it’s still happening or not. You don’t stop for an hour at the side of the road and forget which way to go, or take a detour and stop at the library. I don’t know how I finished Boston but it couldn’t have been hard to follow the crowds
At this point it comes down to just finishing something I started. In the process I’m going to learn SO much about myself. Beside me is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
Or as Debbie Hetherington describes her own bad day out at her first Boston Marathon, “Mile by mile.” One mile at a time.
One task at a time. Documenting the Documentary.